In my cyber-wandering, I have had the opportunity to explore current futurisms, and naturally my interest goes to post human realities and cyberfeminism, a term that holds the potential to highlight a new area in feminist thought, that inspires a new alliance between women and technologies, an alternative combination which reveals the birth of a reconstructed techno culture. Yes, the word may seems inconsistent because of its trendy aspect but it’s way more interesting to look at it as a new sensibility, a paradigm which is connected to technological flows or a cyber revolution with a different overtone, if you feel rebellious.
I found the urge, as a feminist living in a testosterone-filled techno world, to reveal the guts behind this new feminine autonomy in cyberspace. It sounds alienating for the skeptical who don’t understand and refuse the mutation, simply because he can’t find a place for cyberfeminism in his very limited schema. Forget what you thought you knew about women’s web activity, feminism and it’s old expectations, it has evolved. The cyberpotential of feminism has mutated to face the complexity of our system, and now women chart their own course in the integrated circuit, chiseling out a place for themselves in the techno zone. The imagined future of the eighties is now our present. During the past twenty years, cyber feminism has emerged as a reaction to new technologies, to a constantly evolving domain that, in its early stages, left the girls outside. Yesterday appears purely speculative, but now we are opening up a completely different future, full of estrogens, where our evolution as women has to bypass the accelerated technological development; 2015 seems like a fitting moment to talk about what it means to be an e-Venus in a contemporary age, a wired woman with neural connections and a chip under her coded skin, who inhabits technocultural space for her own pleasure and whose cybertouch I obviously can’t resist.
As our culture undergoes a digital reinvention, we can surely join the dots and affirm that what happens online does have the capacity to impact and effect real change. The Internet is a playful ground for new constructions, giving power to women to sketch the outlines of imperceptible futures. Having overcome security concerns, they have become more comfortable with being online and this has marked a positive departure point for direct autonomous actions. Keep in mind that the Internet remains the ideal strategic field for new struggles, as it has played a big part in cyberfeminist history. I’m hardly the only one to point this out, but I think that when we are on the Internet, there is no objection to transformative change. In fact, I truly believe that the Internet brought about an ingrown desire to move between the surfaces, helping to frame a place for female and the feminine in order to propose a shift and lead feminism into the future. The www weapon provided cyberfeminists with a possibility to explore feminist issues in a new setting among a generation of wired feminists and explorers for whom the relationship between women and technology is not a source of alienation or deviance.
Even after all these years, the formulated questions are still relevant and the anxieties of the real world have become the problems of the digital world, and this is why cyberfeminism is so actual. The whole cyber/ techno-feminism thing has gained extraordinary momentum over the last few years. Now every media that matters is dealing with interconnected digital Venuses thanks to the Internet (with its very specific utopian halo), which has opened new vistas for personal growth, making it relatively easy for motivated net-actives like us to recode social norms by challenging the old standard and expected trajectory. You don’t reject it–you try to understand it, embrace it and call the future into question. I did.
And since I fully agree with the concept and consider myself as a cyber positive/wonder child of cyberfeminism, I prefer to point out, rather than define, the real deal behind ‘the movement’ away from hype. Don’t risk thinking that it’s only a subversive current; it’s actually more like a crack in the phallocentric wall, an attempt to find alternatives, an « elsewhere” that exposes the myth that women are incompatible with technologies. No one said it would be easy, the concept of future building is extremely challenging. It’s all about women creating healthy connections with the machine, getting their data gloves dirty while crossing the fissures of a transitioning culture, the same culture that has an extraordinary appetite for novelty. Cyberfeminism may not have a brand new agenda, but it is seductive, and seems to creep into consciousness and insinuate itself into our cyber habitats like a kind of bootstrap, especially for the generation who have grown up with computers in the Eighties. Back then, when the word cyberfeminism was creating discomfort for many, we still remember (in the corner of our contemporary experience) the outrageous ladies of VNS Matrix, the foursome of imaginative anarchic Amazons who changed the face of feminism through cunty art. They carried the torch and interrupted the stream of male codes with the intention of delegitimizing and infecting the phallically correct. The feminist community and VNS Matrix are inseparable; any discussion of cyberfeminism and Fem utopia must look at this cyber elite who made the upgrade, proposing a realistic and creative technophilia fueled by irony. Some of the finest net artists and cyberfeminists have followed in their footsteps, women who perform in new contemporary media projects and invite us to blur the boundaries, artists such as Olia Lialina, Addie Wagenknecht , Mikki Foster and Praba Pilar immediately spring to mind, but they are not the only ones gaming the rules. An underground of young feminists is thriving online—they are networking, reblogging each other, publishing, getting busy cracking the code while reactivating the e-sisterhood. This is no easy work; it takes a Sisyphean effort to make things change.
Deeper conversations about the metadata of our lives, the struggle, and the consciousness are happening at warp speed; in 2015, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone still ignoring it. You definitely need to click to catch the odd glimpse; these smart ladies are fighting the notion that women are not technologically minded by creating work and mutual support systems to connect with other women. Some of these brilliant activists are trying to end the misogynist attitudes that poison so many women’s experiences with the URL, while others are investing in pulling back the veil that enshrines Silicon Valley by closing the tech gender gap. People like Reshma Saujani who is the founder of Girls Who Code (girlswhocode.com), a national nonprofit that teaches young women to code. Saujani saw girls facing a big disadvantage, so she decided to help them express their full potential by giving them the weapons to explore the possibilities of hardware and so gain power in this brave new cyber world. To resist the argument that plunges them back into the role of ‘technology’s victim’, girls need to learn to assert their circuitry and not allow themselves to be held hostage–their cerebral future depends upon it. It’s only a hint of things to come. As I type these words, cowboys are crying over their distorted masculine Meta medium, while our muffin is casting a spell on a large scale to spread the subversion. In other terms, the vagina is the boss, this one sentence will tell you everything you need to know about the mutating feminist system and I insist upon the word ‘feminist’ because feminism didn’t disappear, it’s still here but with a new impertinent activism that tells you that pairing technology with women should be as natural as breastfeeding.
One way or another the future will get you, whether you like it or not, and you’d better be ready for it. The balance is beginning to change, there is more than the hope, it’s happening or maybe has always happened, and it feels good to be a part of it. Cyberfeminism is no longer a utopian myth; it’s a reality. Leave your humanoid female robot fetish at the door–at this point you can only absorb the suggestion and train your mind for the new technoculture dominated by e- Venus: a real woman, not a doll.